Tag Archives: Against the Day

Lest We Forget: The Ludlow Massacre One Century Later

One hundred years ago, on the afternoon of April 20, 1914 William Snyder and his children made the mistake of climbing out of the pit they had dug under their tent in Ludlow Colorado. Outside, the Colorado National Guard and striking coal miners were engaged in a war that had raged since morning. For much of the day the pit had been their shelter from the indiscriminate gunfire that had ripped through the tent city that striking coal miners had erected near the town. The immediate reason for the battle has been lost to history, and both sides have claimed that the other started shooting first. Whatever the cause, the fighting seemed to be letting up and the Snyders took the opportunity to escape their pit and return to the relative comfort of the tent itself. Frank Snyder, a young boy of eleven, went to sit in a chair and his sister joined him on the floor between his knees. According to his father, Frank was in the act of leaning forward to kiss or caress his sister when the bullet that killed him ripped through the family tent and struck Frank in the head (Snyder 133). In his affidavit to the Commission on Industrial Relations William reported, “I was standing near the front door of my tent and heard the impact of the bullet striking the boy’s head, and the crack of the bullet as it exploded inside of his head” (133).

Elsewhere in the tent colony a strike leader named Louis Tikas was arrested and confronted by the militia leader, Karl Linderfelt, about who was at fault for the violence. According to Scott Martelle, as the argument escalated “Linderfelt grabbed his rifle by the barrel and swung it hard at Tikas, striking him in the head and breaking the gunstock” (175). Incapacitated by this attack Tikas and two other striking miners were murdered moments later by the mob of militiamen that surrounded them (176). Tikas was killed by three shots in the back. As Tikas was murdered, the tent colony was going up in flames. How the fires started remains a matter of contention. Guard members claimed that they started thanks to sparks caused by stray bullets and fueled by explosives hidden by the miners in the camp. The strikers contended that that attacking militia purposefully set the fires. Whatever the cause, the fire was deadly. In another pit under a tent like the one the Snyders had sheltered in, hid a group of women and children: twenty-seven year old Fedlina Costa her two children, Onafrio age six, and Lucy, age four, Rodgerio Pedregone, age nine, Cloriva Pedregone age four, Frank Petrucci, age six months, Lucy Petrucci, age three, Joe Petrucci, age four, thirty-seven year old Patria Valdez and her children Rudolph, age nine, Eulala, age eight, Mary age seven, and Elvira, age three months (223). In all, two women and eleven children remained hidden as the fires spread through the tents. They suffocated to death as the fires above them ate the oxygen in their supposed safe haven. They were not found until the morning after the gun battle (2).

Collectively these atrocities have come to be known as the Ludlow Massacre. Read more of this post

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Inherent Other

Oh if I could just get to Poland…

Of Pynchon And Vice: America’s Inherent Other (International Pynchon Week), June 09-12, 2010, Lublin, Poland

full name / name of organization:
Zofia Kolbuszewska, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
contact email:
zofkol@kul.lublin.pl
cfp categories:
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
science_and_culture
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond

While focusing on AGAINST TH DAY and Pynchon’s eagerly awaited most recent novel, INHERENT VICE, the conference is open to engagement with any aspect of Pynchon’s oeuvre and any Pynchon-related subject. The organizers hope to provide a forum for scholars in various disciplines, ranging from literature through cultural studies to the exact sciences, taking any critical or theoretical approach. There is no participation fee.

All presentations will be in plenary session. Each speaker will be allotted thirty minutes (including discussion). Presentations may take the form of individual papers, media presentations, or panels. Please submit proposals/abstracts (in English) of 500-750 words for individual presentations, or of 1,000-1,500 words for panels.

Deadline for proposals: November 30, 2009
Decisions by January 15, 2010
Proposals/abstracts should be e-mailed to
Zofia Kolbuszewska: zofkol@kul.lublin.pl

All information at http://amstud-lublin.edu.pl/pynchon/

Inherent Vice

I’m probably behind in finding out about this (stupid grad school), but apparently Pynchon has a new book coming out next year called Inherent Vice.  From the description I found here:

It’s been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.

In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there . . . or . . . if you were there, then you . . . or, wait, is it . . .

Obviously a bit of a switch up from Against the Day, but given the character of Lew Basnight, I can see a certain continuation of theme happening as he goes into a detective novel.

I can’t wait to play spot the Bodine.